Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Here are some reasons:
1. I am not only suspicious of guestworker programs but the idea that people can be integral to the fuctioning of our country's economic sustainability and yet be considered less important and without the same rights as "citizens" does not sit well with me. If people are contributing to the economic survival of the United States, why can't they also be given some respect, protections, and basically RIGHTS? Oficially, it isn't slavery but am I the only one who sees similarities?
2. $5, 000 and an 8, 9, 10, ... month long trip to one's country of origin no matter what the economic and political situation. Think what you will. I have a good job and $5,000 is still a chunk that is hard for me to save. And the prolonged stay? If someone is escaping a human rights abuse that has yet to be defined by our U.S. gov, will they be sent back at their own risk?:
3. English language fluency, job skills, and basically one's ability to "assimilate" are increasingly defining those who can obtain citizenship and those who cannot. What about the conservatives' big drive towards "the family" when job skills win over family unity?
I could say more but am ready for bed. I will make a point to respond to comments if someone wants to open up to discussion.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I just returned from another incredible workshop with Power of Hope. All of us who attended know that the arts can make a powerful and positive difference in people's lives. It is my most deeply held belief. I believe in people and the power of groups to make a difference. I believe that people do care about each and do not want to kill one another. They just turn themselves off from their feelings. News reports like the one I linked to above are what propelled me to come to this awareness.
I may be impatient, and definitely idealistic, but there is no reason why we should be killing each other. It is as simple as that. I believe that if we all really believe that violence is not even an option, violence will cease to exist.
To the people of Tripoli and the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, I am thinking of you.
Zena McCoy, the artist behind Semilla Designs, makes these beautiful necklaces and bracelets out of seeds that she gets from Colombia. I ended up buying a simpler version of the one in the photo. She uses seeds of all shapes, colors, and sizes which appeals to me as I have tendency to collect this sort of thing. Plus, I like the fact that the beads are biodegradable!!! Some of the seeds are super funky looking and look like tree leaves and such. What fun.
She has a website in the making. You can check out a few of her creations here. Ah, how much I appreciate creativity.
Monday, May 14, 2007
As you can see, the polish does little to hide the black and blue marks from my hike this weekend or my fingers and nails that have been bitten down to the hopeful essence of all of my mundane thoughts. I have yet to figure out the fine art of keeping the polish on the nail either.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
But the artist has also become quite the rave, selling his art work for high prices at Southeby's and to the stars in Los Angeles. I like his commentary but is it becoming less potent as he is going way beyond just making a simple and decent economic living? Are people heeding his message or does he even want them too? Is bringing an elephant painted with the words "global poverty" to an art opening just an extravagence?
I am an activist art purist and only a few can make my approval list. Most likely Banksy could care less about my reaction and in fact anticipated it. This is the nature of art afterall right? To cause people to think, even Margaret? Perhaps his art is activist afterall.
While I lived with my disenchantment, I switched magazines to MS. and was once again reminded how powerful visual statements can be. Don't "Tease" These Eyes shines light on a wonderful project and group of women that are confronting the sexual harrassment that they face in India. Through installation and performance art, Blank Noise Project is saying no to eve-teasing, the Indian euphemism for sexual harassment.
In the installation We Never Asked For It that took place in Kolkata, Bangalore, and New Delhi, women brought clothing that they had been sexually harrassed in and displayed them all over the cities. In another performance piece, women stared men down on the streets just as women routinely are. For me, this is activist art- art with a purpose and an unblemished message.
You go amazingly courageous and creative women!!!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
For the magnets, I just used found objects that I have had no particular use for besides storing in a wood bowl but that originate from a few of my multicontinental travels.
I tried putting magnets on rocks but be careful about that idea. The magnets have to be significantly strong to hold a rock. I glue gunned more and more magnets but each time my rock quickly slipped down my thin layer of metal fridge.
I am also including some visuals from this weekend..
And as this is a smattering, I am also including a recent read that deserves some recognition, Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East by Brian Whitaker. It speaks more to men's experience in the Middle East, but does give examples of what it is like to be a lesbian as well. Basically, it has its challenges. Just to make the point, one chapter is entitled, "Should I Kill Myself?"
Of course being me, I latch onto the groups that are trying to improve their situation and one such group is Helem.
I have already mentioned them on this blog because I am so excited about the work that they are doing. They have a rainbow flag flying from their office window in Beirut, but this isn't the reason I like them so much. Besides being one of the few LGBT groups in the Middle East, they have formed partnerships with other human rights organizations and have succeeded in convincing these groups that sexual rights are human rights!
They are actively campaigning for the abolition of article 534 of the Lebanese penal code which criminalizes "unnatural sexual intercourse" (whatever that means). They are also involved in advocacy and health promotion around HIV and safer sex. Most importantly, they are visible and feel that this is an important part of their work. In their view, being visible leads to the realization that same sex love exists and is perfectly normal.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Oh, what a wonderful film. In some ways, sad; in others, uplifting. Ludovic is a seven-year old sweet as can be little one who is outwardly a boy but knows that he is a girl inside. His family struggles with this, but deeply loves him. It is a sad film because of all they face but so hopeful that he has a loving family and that he is so sure so young. I know people who have gone half a lifetime without being able to reconcile all of the mixed feelings.
I recommend this film and She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Having always loved the fact that I am female, feeling as if you are in the wrong body in terms of gender is something that seems insurmountable to me. Emotional support and financial stability can make the transition a little easier I imagine but still difficult.
How courageous Ludovic is and all those that take the risk to become the gender they truly are.
Here are a few links to definitions at Wikepedia that might interest you:
And if you are in Lebanon reading this or care about Lebanon and LGBTQ issues, you may want to check out Helem.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Today is no more the day. However, I did want to acknowledge your dissent and thank you. It is especially impactful today as I help a friend with a difficult decision. And oh how I wish she could make that decision without all of the false messages of never being able to have a child again or how dangerous it is! Childbirth is more of a risk than abortion. Not that this is the decision she will need to make and I will support her no matter. I just thank you for dissenting and reiterating to all that this is a decision that women need to make for themselves. Not lawyers and politicians. This is a difficult enough decision to make, why do politics have to get involved?